At the heart of Dartmouth, a stirring tribute echoed within the walls of Nova Scotia RCMP Headquarters, welcoming dozens of attendees who had gathered to commemorate the 41st annual Nova Scotia Fallen Peace Officers’ Memorial Service.
In a tender display of unity and remembrance, Nova Scotians from all walks of life, communities, and law enforcement agencies gathered to honor the memory of those peace officers who sacrificed their lives whilst in duty, marking their mark of honor and service.
“In the wake of our loss, we grieve and feel the void left by our fallen peace officers. Our hearts are heavy, yet we are emboldened by their legacy; a legacy marked by exceptional courage, unwavering integrity, and extraordinary compassion for others,” expressed a noticeably moved Lieutenant Governor, Arthur J. Blanc.
This ceremonious service, orchestrated by the dutiful Nova Scotia Fallen Peace Officers’ Memorial Service Organizing Committee, served not only as a remembrance service but also as a somber reminder of the perils law enforcement officers willingly embrace to ensure our communities are safe.
“Your dedication and commitment provide the shield of security we sleep underneath each night. Your tireless service resonates and makes a difference in our lives,” quoted Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Brad Johns.
Marking this poignant anniversary, uniformed personnel from various spheres such as police, emergency services, and the military came together in unity and commemoration.
Nicolas Gagnon, acting public information officer for the Halifax Regional Police, extended the sphere of mourning beyond the local community. “Today, we honor our fallen peace officers from Nova Scotia. However, the loss of a peace officer, regardless of the location of their duty, brings shared mourning. United in grief, we honor them, whether they served in Nova Scotia or any other corner of the country.”
Traditionally, this memorial service was held at Halifax’s stately Grand Parade by the provincial monument. However, due to an increasing homeless encampment at the regular location, the ceremony experienced a shift of venue. Noteworthy was the smaller number of attendees this year, yet the support and gratitude manifesting itself remained steadfast.
The ceremony witnessed grieving family members, supportive colleagues, and revered community leaders placing wreaths in tribute to their lost loved ones, underlining once again the personal cost of public service.
In a touching moment, Tanya Burkholder, daughter of fallen officer Derek Burkholder, paid an emotional tribute: “My father made incredible sacrifices to shield others from harm. He wasn’t just a good officer; he was an extraordinary father. Understanding that these heroes are people, like you and me, is crucial.”
Assistant Commissioner and Commanding Officer of Nova Scotia RCMP, Dennis Daley, summed up the spirit of the solemn gathering. “Our officers are at the service of the public and strive to excel at it. Each day they put on the uniform, their dedication is to serve the community.”
In its yearly recurrence and heartfelt tribute, Nova Scotia Fallen Peace Officers’ Memorial Service embodies a timeless symbol of gratitude; a poignant salute to those officers who serve, protect, and sometimes pay the ultimate price, in pursuit of their duty.